Chicken soup is considered by many around the world to be the ultimate comfort food and to have medicinal benefits as well. Humans have been boiling chickens since before chickens were ever domesticated in Southeast Asia 10,000 years ago. Boiled with inexpensive and readily-available nutritious root vegetables, the resulting soup with boiled chicken meat returned to the pot became a staple in northern Europe. The later addition of noodles, dumplings, pasta, barley, and rice made the soup into a complete meal. Add matzo balls to make a Jewish favorite. It may just be an old bubbie-meister (old grandma tale), but the bone broth can allegedly reduce inflammation in the joints and cure the common cold. Regardless of its perceived benefits, it tastes great.
- Large 10 quart pot
- Large pot or bowl
- Colander and coffee filter or cheese cloth
- Medium bowl
- 4½ lb Whole chicken, cut up or chicken thighs and/or legs
- 12 cups Water
- 8 stalks Celery, half chopped, half thinly sliced on the diagonal. Reserve leaves for garnish.
- 2 large Carrots, roughly chopped
- 2 heads Garlic, unpeeled and halved crosswise
- 2 large Yellow onion, unpeeled and quartered
- 2 Bay leaves
- 10 Black peppercorns
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup Fresh parsley leaves
- ½ cup Dill, bottom stalks removed and chopped
- Combine chicken, onion, garlic, carrot, and chopped celery in a large pot. Cover with 12 cups of water and season with salt. Bring to a boil and quickly reduce heat to low and gently simmer until the broth is flavorful, between 1½ and 2 hours.
- Using tongs, remove chicken pieces to a cutting board, leaving any loose skin and bones in the pot. Separate meat from bones to either add back to the soup later or refrigerate and save for another use.
- Strain broth through a colander or large wire mesh strainer into a bowl. Discard everything in the stainer. Rinse out pot. Place strainer over the pot and line strainer with a coffee filter or cheesecloth. Pour the broth in the bowl back into the pot through the coffee filter-lined strainer. Season completely with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with sliced celery and top with dill, celery leaves, and black pepper, Soup can be refrigerated overnight and warmed up before adding the sliced celery and garnish.
- Soup can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat on the stovetop, add celery and garnish to hot soup before serving.
- Strained broth can be used for chicken stock in any recipes.